Klinghoffer: Darwin & the Charleston Shootings


Everyone knows about the recent shootings in Charleston, South Carolina. If you’ve been living in a cave for the past week, then see Charleston church shooting. The shooter is in custody and has already confessed — see Dylann Roof.

It was inevitable.that creationists would blame this on Darwin, and sure enough, at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog we find: In Explaining Dylann Roof’s Inspiration, the Media Ignore Ties to Evolutionary Racism.

It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. The graphic above this post is in his honor.

Klinghoffer excels at this kind of work. To put his essay in context, here’s a sampling of his scholarly creationist oeuvre, which most of you have seen before. He has previously posted a series of essays attempting to link Charles Darwin to: Hitler, and communism, and Stalin, and the Columbine shootings, and Charles Manson, and the Ft. Hood Massacre, and Mao Tse-tung, and Dr. Josef Mengele, and the practice of euthanasia, and most recently No Darwin, No Left-Wing Politics.

Okay, you know what we’re dealing with. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

We haven’t said anything yet about the horrific church massacre in South Carolina because the terrible event did not seem, at first glance, to touch on the scientific issues that we typically deal with here. True, confessed mass murderer Dylann Roof’s apparent “manifesto” deals a little with themes of pseudo-scientific racism: [quote from Roof’s manifesto]. But beyond that there was none of the evolutionary chatter you find at some neo-Nazi and white supremacist sites.

We’re not given any examples of the “evolutionary chatter” at such websites. We doubt that there is any. Our guess is that in Klinghoffer’s mind, racism alone is all he needs to implicate Darwin, as if there had never been any racism in the world before he published his theory. In other words, Klinghoffer doesn’t have much to go on. But that doesn’t stop him. He mentions a few racist websites that have only a tenuous connection, if any, to the killer, and then he says:

I mention this at all not to blame them for Roof’s crime, in any way, but simply to note — because the mainstream media covers it up — how certain ideas tend to hang together.

Klinghoffer doesn’t blame any of the racist websites that can be found on the internet. Then who does he blame? Yes, you guessed it. Here it comes:

The racial elements in Charles Darwin’s writing, the eugenicist implications, are often brushed aside as ugly but incidental, a mere byproduct of his time and place.

What racial elements? We can’t find them. See Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin.

After presenting no evidence whatsoever, and having said nothing of value, Klinghoffer announces his conclusion:

Yet the myth of European superiority over inferior dark peoples continues to percolate in some evolutionary thinking, a century and more after the close of the Victorian era. It seems to have found an eager student in a disturbed young man named Dylann Roof.

So there you are. It was a big ark-load of nothing, and then a worthless conclusion based on the worthless creationist premise that all evil in the world is Darwin’s fault. Typical Klinghoffer stuff.

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30 responses to “Klinghoffer: Darwin & the Charleston Shootings

  1. docbill1351

    Klinklehitler was called out for raciest remarks when he was a freshman at Brown. He lost his position as a resident advisor as a result. Clearly the little Hitler fanatic hasn’t changed his stripes over the years; they’re still red, black and white.

  2. Diogenes' Lamp

    Ugh, I *hate* to defend Klingleberry, but, having read the Berry’s autobiographical essay (basically, he became a conservative and Orthodox Jew because he had an unrequited crush on an Orthodox Jewess, over whom he still obsesses), I can’t agree that he was racist in the incident at Brown. That was just some “Third World” bullies excluding white students from university functions, whom he correctly criticized as employing racial discrimination against whites.

    I had a good buddy who went to Brown. He had the job of delivering an anti-sexual assault talk to freshmen at orientation, and feminists in the audience were hissing at him because the opponent of rape who was talking was male.

  3. That’s an unusually vacuous piece even for Klinghoffer, isn’t it? He’s obviously found not a single datum to back him, so he’s just sort of waving his hands about.

  4. Christine Janis

    Damn, when was Klinghoffer at Brown??

  5. michaelfugate

    He was born in 1965 – so mid-80s – I would presume.

    It seems the main thing evolution deniers have going for them is the appalling ignorance of the American public for history. The first indentured Africans arrived in the early 17th c, slavery is legalized in the mid 17th c, Darwin published OoS in 1859, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, etc. Unless Darwin had powers unknown to most of us, it seems pretty unlikely that he was able to influence events 100s of years before his birth.

  6. michaelfugate says: “The first indentured Africans arrived in the early 17th c”

    That was in the American colonies. The Spanish were importing African slaves to the New World in the early 1500s. Probably not Darwin’s fault.

  7. It is astonishing that the Klingon is attributing characteristics of his alleged sky fairy to his sworn enemy, Charles Darwin. How could Darwin cause events several centuries before he was born unless he’s at least as powerful as the alleged sky fairy (blessed be he/she/it). His writing makes me doubt that the Klingon is capable of thinking and I guess he didn’t take any history courses at Brown. I wonder what he did study. And realthog was right: the hand waving is strong with this one, Obi-wan.

  8. Great Scot!

    It isn’t enough that 9 people were murdered but that he has to hijack this tragedy to fit in with his own – especially weak – story. I guess that makes him no different than various politicians and one particularly egregious ‘news’ network, but still, it is pretty nauseating.

  9. I think we should also blame Darwin for Caligula, Genghis Khan, and Ivan the Terrible. It’s obvious that “On the Origin of Species” influenced their life and actions.

  10. Charles Deetz ;)

    Let me edit Klingy a bit:

    The racial elements in The Bible/Truth’s™ writing, the eugenicist implications, are often brushed aside as ugly but incidental, a mere byproduct of his time and place.

    Someone was wrong on the Internet and I fixed it!

  11. The DI never explains how Darwin being tied to Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, racism, halitosis and ingrown toenails somehow invalidates The Theory of Evolution. Moreover, as has been pointed out in this blog, Darwin was an abolitionist. But even if Darwin had been a terrible person, his theory of evolution driven by natural selection stands on its own based on an Everest of evidence.

    So if you are reading this, Klinghoffer, shut up. You’re embarrassing yourself, and you are making the entire Discovery Institute look not just ill-informed, but thoroughly vile as well.

  12. You’re embarrassing yourself, and you are making the entire Discovery Institute look not just ill-informed, but thoroughly vile as well.

    In our eyes, perhaps, but not in those of the exceptionally ignorant conservative choir to whom he’s preaching. As in climate science (“it’s been hijacked by lefties!”), economics (“austerity/trickle-down works!”) and so much else, they’re impervious to scientific conclusions, the scientific method, and even to reality. So far as the Discoveroids are concerned, we out here in the reality-based universe are just a sort of fringe party that can be safely ignored.

    And poll after poll of the US public shows that they’re right.

  13. @realthog:
    Nonetheless, the more we get the message across that denigrating Darwin does not invalidate evolution, the more the public will see through the rantings of Klinghoffer et al.

    We must speak out. Otherwise, the only voice heard by the public will be Klinghoffer’s. Sure, we’re preachin’ to the choir, but there are many, many more reading this blog than there are commenting on it. Every nugget of truth we write helps counteract the deliberate misstatements of the DI, AiG, and others.

  14. We must speak out. Otherwise, the only voice heard by the public will be Klinghoffer’s.

    Oh, I absolutely agree with you on this — I’ve devoted biggish chunks of my professional life to doing exactly this. (Hero Paul Braterman, who sometimes visits here, even more so.)

    Sure, we’re preachin’ to the choir

    I was actually talking about Klinghoffer speaking to his choir, not us speaking to ours.

  15. Today I was horrified to find a container of cottage cheese in my refrigerator which had gone bad.

    (I won’t detail its sins. Trust me. It’s bad. Very very bad.)

    It was Darwin’s fault. How do I know that? Because ideas have consequences. Serious consequences.

    [I may apply for a position as an Associate Propagandist at the Dishonesty Institute. This writing sample along with my CV should be enough.]

  16. The Hitler thing, one more time …
    1. Hitler was not interested in Darwin. The influence of natural selection was in general, not appreciated in the early 20th century. If there was any thing about evolution could be linked to social/political movements of the 20th century, it would be the sort of thing that the creationists (as well as other scientifically naive people) support – “micro-evolution” (within “mankind”) – animal husbandry (applied to humans) as practiced for millennia – and inheritance of “nobility”.
    2. Hitler did refer to the scientific study of disease, speaking favorably of Koch, for support of his policies. No one is so dense as to say that this means that germs don’t cause disease.
    3. The support for our knowledge of evolution is not based on the authority of Darwin or the morals of the scientists who have presented the evidence and reasoning that is continued to be uncovered. But, by Victorian standards, Darwin was no worse a racist than, say, Abraham Lincoln.

  17. Dave Luckett

    The handwaving is strong with this one…

    You’re not wrong there, as we say in my country. And when the hand approaches the groin, the oscillation accelerates to a blur.

  18. Roof is related to Klinghoffer .

  19. I have it on good authority that Gravity was important to the Nazis. Without it, they wouldn’t have been able to do much.

  20. Christine Janis

    Retired science guy said: “Nonetheless, the more we get the message across that denigrating Darwin does not invalidate evolution, ”

    And, more additionally, does not validate Intelligent Design

  21. @AR: Sure, gravity was important to the Nazis, but so was powered flight. No Wright Brothers, no Battle of Britain.

    Just one of the many negative consequences of OrvilleandWilburWrightism.

  22. @Mark Germano: “No Wright Brothers, no Battle of Britain.”
    I am so, SOOOO stealing that!

  23. One need not resort to dark humor, for Hitler spoke admiringly of Robert Koch and the germ theory of disease.

  24. Can anyone–even with the aid of an electronic microscope–detect even a nanometre of difference between the following:

    Exhibit A: A quotation from Jared Taylor which Klinghoffer provides:

    Mr. Wade points out that “brain genes do not lie in some special category exempt from natural selection. They are as much under evolutionary pressure as any other category of gene.” And since human evolution is “recent and copious,” the brains of different populations function differently. This is the book’s main heresy: After the races separated, they evolved different mental patterns that gave rise to different social patterns.

    Exhibit B: The Discoveroids’ Micro-Macro Tutti-Frutti Mambo, a frequent staple of their outpourings of gloop, such as Luskin’s Since When Is This News? Rapid Microevolution in Lizard Feet Reveals Little About the Origin of Species:

    all of the verified examples of evolution among the evolutionary gems amounted only to micro- not macroevolution. … [snip] … that implies that over long periods you might be able to change the size of an organism or some of its body parts. Since when is that news?

    IOW, some ignorant bigots perform the same ignorant dance routine that the Discoveroids themselves choreograph, and Klinghoffer somehow thinks that makes a point in his favour?

  25. Oops: “nanometre” was intended in above 😦

    …and “choreograph”… 😦

    [*Voice from above*] You botched up “outpourings” too, but in my characteristic magnanimity, all is forgiven.

  26. The rich man in his castle,
    The poor man at his gate,
    God made them high and lowly,
    And ordered their estate.

  27. Who agrees with this:

    The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger. The only difference that can exist within the species must be in the various degrees of structural strength and active power, in the intelligence, efficiency, endurance, etc., with which the individual specimens are endowed.

  28. TomS asks a challenging question:

    my bet is Klinghitler!

  29. Talk about shamelessness. Klinghoffer et al. have revealed their utter moral bankruptcy by milking the Charleston tragedy. If evolution supporters tried to do the same by pointing to the millions slaughtered in the name of he Christian religion, ID’ers would squeal like stuck pigs and cry “Unfair! Unfair!”

  30. So me let me see if have the Klinghoffer equation correct. A=B. C is a letter in the same alphabet. So B=C. So A=C. Seems simple. But not even wrong.